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'Life Means Life' Is the Easy Part

'Life Means Life' Is the Easy Part

Wednesday 30 Jan 2002 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Justice, Law & Order

The slogans swapped between the Hon Phil Goff and the Hon Bill English on National's welcome `life means life' policy announcement have yet to throw much light on the real law and order issues that will dominate the election campaign, says ACT's Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

"Essentially Mr Goff is saying his parole functionaries will be able to tell when convicts are no longer an `undue risk to the safety of the community' so they can let them out whatever the evil of their crime, while deriding Bill English's expectation that the Court can work out which offenders deserve never to be let out.

"ACT's very detailed analysis of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill shows far greater problems for criminal justice. ACT's work will be released tomorrow. It points to a need for far more fundamental reform than merely tinkering with a few sentences for headline criminals.

"The Bill entrenches a 30-year failed experiment in being nice to thugs and cheats and thieves in the hope that they might feel they should be nice back to law abiding people. The Bill increases the uncertainty that any punishment will be imposed, or whether it will be enforced if it is imposed. Instead of sending a clear message to apprentice criminals that it is not worth gambling on crime it reduces likely penalties for entry-level crime.

"New Zealanders will not be satisfied with election-type slogans about criminal law this time round. Their clear instruction to politicians at the last election have been ignored by Mr Goff in a deceptive Bill.

"I look forward to a better informed debate after ACT's contribution. The issues go well beyond the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill's abolition of the minimum penalty for murder, and whether life should mean life," Stephen Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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